Judge prolongs Yaz case

Bayer, the manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin®, now faces over 10,000 lawsuits brought by women who allege they were injured by Yaz birth control pills. The federal judge presiding over these lawsuits has ordered the parties to meet with an assigned mediator in an attempt to negotiate a settlement for the litigation. As a result, the first trial, which was initially scheduled to begin on January 9, 2012, has been pushed to a later date.

Judge Hendon issued an order on December 31, 2011 which indefinitely continued the start of the first case involving a plaintiff who suffered a pulmonary embolism after taking the pill, and is ordering the parties to engage in settlement negotiations. It is believed that delaying the bellwether trial would be in the best interest of the litigation.

Professor Stephen Saltzburg of the George Washington School of Law has been appointed as Special Master to take on the position of mediating the entire litigation. A meeting has been ordered involving the leadership teams for Bayer and the plaintiffs to negotiate in good faith.

Yaz and Yasmin are considered new generation contraceptives and contain an ingredient known as drospirenone which has been raising safety concerns with health officials.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a study in which they examined over 800,000 women who took birth controls containing drospirenone. It was determined from the study that the risk of heart attack and stroke are double that of women taking traditional birth control pills. The study also noted that users of newer birth control pills have a 74% higher risk of developing blood clots than women not taking birth control pills.

On December 8, the FDA Advisory panel met to discuss the safety of Yaz and Yasmin. The advisory committee voted on the benefits of new generation contraceptives and concluded that the benefits outweighed the risks. However, the need for stronger warning labels was suggested by the committee.


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